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Fans Agree This Is The Best Plot In Altered Carbon Season 2

Netflix's science-fiction series Altered Carbon premiered its first season in February 2018. Based on the book of the same name by Richard K. Morgan, the show, set in the year 2384, follows a character named Takeshi Kovacs, a former soldier brought back to life to solve a murder. Kovacs is played by Joel Kinnaman in season 1 and Anthony Mackie in season 2 — a reflection of the futuristic technology of this world that allows people to essentially live forever, transferring their consciousness to different bodies through a piece of technology called "stacks."

Also starring Renée Elise Goldsberry, Dichen Lachman, Will Yun Lee, Martha Higareda, and Chris Conner, Altered Carbon had two seasons before it was cancelled by Netflix. While both seasons of the series were relatively well-received by critics, fans had mixed reactions to the storyline of the second season — for a variety of reasons. In season 2, Kovacs' story goes deeper into his own personal history as an Envoy, part of a rebel group that led an uprising against the government, and his alliance and romance with Goldsberry's Quellcrist Falconer, the group's leader.

While Kovacs' story is still at the center of Altered Carbon, one specific plot line surrounding a supporting character drew attention as one of the best and most engaging parts of the second season.

Altered Carbon fans thought Poe's character arc was the best part of season 2

In a Reddit thread, user u/curtwagner1984 highlighted their favorite plot line from season 2: the character arc that Poe, played by Chris Conner, experiences. "Poe's arc and character development absolutely takes the cake as the 2nd season's most engaging plot thread," they wrote.

Poe is an artificial intelligence unit and the owner of the Raven, the hotel where Kovacs stays in season 1. Despite being an A.I., Poe forms deep feelings of care and attachment for the people staying at his hotel — and to Kovacs in particular. He also develops a strong connection with Lizzie (Hayley Law), a young woman he helps through deep trauma as a result of her murder at the hands of the Bancroft family.

Going into season 2, Poe is in a damaged state. At this point, he's developed a strong identity, and his memories with Kovacs and Lizzie are extremely important to him. But at the same time, his affected technology stops him from being able to help Kovacs, as he will randomly glitch out and forget bouts of time, leaving Kovacs vulnerable. U/curtwagner1984 applauded Conner's performance in season 2, saying, "The actor who plays [Poe] did a phenomenal job in portraying his vulnerability and despair of someone who's losing themselves. Not too different from a person with Alzheimer's." 

Poe knows that repairing himself will reboot his system and likely erase all his memories, so he is trying to survive as he is. But as the episodes continue, it becomes clear that if he wants to stay at Kovacs' side, he must go through the repair, and you can imagine the internal torment Poe endures making a decision in this no-win situation. Thankfully, help comes in the form of another A.I. ally named Dig 301 (Dina Shihabi), who believes she can reboot Poe's system while keeping his personal memories, knowledge, and emotions intact. 

Many praise Chris Conner's portrayal of Poe's slow loss of memory and identity

For Poe, he is aware of his loss of presence and memory, and feels extreme guilt for Kovacs' newfound inability to depend on him. Conner's depiction of Poe's season 2 journey does have a lot of similarities to someone's development of a degenerative brain disease, like dementia or Alzheimer's. For many people suffering from these conditions, they are aware of their condition but feel lost and helpless at the same time, slowly losing their sense of self.

Altered Carbon also explores the idea of Artificial Intelligence in the future developing sentience and emotion — which is entirely possible — and positions that against its status as a creation and tool, questioning the morality and reasoning behind Poe's dismissive treatment by Kovacs and others around him. Thankfully, this isn't a question humanity has to really answer for ourselves yet, but it's possible a moral quandary we could face in the future.

Poe's season 2 character arc has many similarities with other well-known science-fiction stories like Blade Runner and Terminator in how it explores a synthetic creation's ability to love and their right to live as regular humans do. There are also clear parallels to life today in how many people with privilege see certain groupings — whether the divisions are based on race, religion, or something else — as "less than" and not worthy of receiving the same treatment and respect.